Women in Jazz

JaNae Fleming

About Jazz

   Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime.

   The key elements of Jazz include: blues, syncopation, swing and creative freedom. Jazz has a lot of the elements that most other music has: It has melody; the tune of the song, It has harmony; the notes that make the melody sound fuller, and it has rhythm; which is the heartbeat of the song.

Women in Jazz

      Although jazz was used to diversify music in the 1920’s, unfortunately women jazz musicians received very little recognition. Some of the most popular women jazz musicians are Ella Fitzgerald, also known as the First Lady of Song, where she is now the international standard for performance, Billie Holiday, also know as Lady Day, becoming one of the first women of jazz in the 30s, most known for her improvised vocals, and Sarah Vaughn who helped redefine jazz in the 40s into the 60s. While these women stand as great jazz musicians there was still a lack of recognition of women instrumentalists in the genre of jazz like Vi Redd, a saxophonist who was known for challenging gender stereotypes, and Mary Lou Williams who was a famous pianist from the 20s to the 40s, she also wrote songs for famous male jazz musicians. These women are a few of the many women who have made great contributions of jazz.

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